North Antrim DUP MLA Mervyn Storey has described as alarming a report that indicates almost 100,000 children in Northern Ireland are living below the breadline.
In a statement following the release of figures, Mr. Storey said that children’s lives were being put at risk as well as having their chance in life greatly reduced.
The report from the Child Poverty Action Group which maps out how poverty is affecting young people in every part of Northern Ireland and revealed that there were some 1,517 children in Ballymoney living below the breadline.
Commenting Mr Storey said:
“This is indeed an alarming report.
“While Ballymoney is almost at the bottom of the figures by Council area it is extremely concerning that 1,517 children are defined as living in poverty.
“Surely there is something drastically wrong in our society when we see figures like this.
“We all need to remember that behind these statics are children and families who need help.
“I have written to the OFMDFM and DSD to see what else in a practical way can be done to address this serious issue.
“ The work of the Executive in bringing freshly graduated teachers to address numeracy and literacy, providing nurture units, support services to encourage children to continue with their education and training and recognition and focus on early intervention -all designed to give our young people the best start in life are to be welcomed.
“However focused intervention must still play apart in dealing with this situation.
Meanwhile, one in four children in Britain – 3.4 million – will be in relative poverty by 2020, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has warned.
In a report, conducted for the Northern Ireland Executive but held to describe the position in the UK as a whole, the IFS says “tax and benefit reforms introduced since April 2010 can account for almost all of the increases in child poverty projected over the next few years”.
The shakeup will result in another 600,000 children falling into relative poverty during this parliament, with this figure rising by more than 1 million by 2020, the IFS says.
The jump will result in Britain missing binding targets to reduce child poverty by 2020.